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    CT Sun
    Saturday, August 13, 2022

    Short-handed Sun beat Fever, 92-70

    Connecticut Sun forward Jonquel Jones (35) celebrates a 3-pointer by DeWanna Bonner (24) against the Indiana Fever during a WNBA game on Friday at Mohegan Sun Arena. (Sean D. Elliot/The Day)

    The Connecticut Sun are one of many WNBA teams that have played short-handed early this season due to players arriving late from their overseas commitments, injuries, etc.

    Connecticut is hoping they won't be down a player the entire season.

    Starting guard Jasmine Thomas injured her right knee late in the first quarter of the Sun's 92-70 win over the Indiana Fever on Wednesday afternoon, their fourth straight win before 2,612 at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.

    Thomas drove the lane with 1 minute, 59 seconds left in the first quarter and, as she came down on her right foot, fell to the floor grabbing her right knee. She watched the rest of the game from the bench with the knee wrapped in ice.

    "It's too early (to know)," Connecticut head coach Curt Miller said about Thomas' status. "(She'll) get an MRI.

    "The obvious (thing) is we could be down to 10 (players) for the season and that's a really, really difficult (problem)."

    Making matters worse is that the Sun (4-1) need depth because they're in the early stages of a brutal schedule. They host the Dallas Wings on Tuesday, the first of seven games in 13 days. That stretch concludes with four road games in six days.

    Connecticut began Sunday down a player as starter DeWanna Bonner stayed home to rest. She's dealt with a whirlwind schedule of late as she completed her season overseas with Turkey's CSK Mersin on May 12 in Istanbul and flew to Connecticut the next day. She played twice last week.

    The Sun were undeterred being down two starters and put together the team's best game.

    "The early injury to Jas put us at nine players with three that are either rookies or in their first year with us," Miller said. "That's a big win for us."

    It was the third straight game Connecticut scored 90-or-more. It did that just twice in 32 regular season games last season.

    Alyssa Thomas (18 points, six rebounds, six assists and two steals) led four Sun players in double figures.

    Brionna Jones, starting in place of Bonner, had 18 points, six rebounds and two steals for Connecticut and Jonquel Jones added 13 points and nine rebounds.

    Sun off-guard Courtney Williams got into a shooting groove after a slow start to the year. She made 7 of 12 shots for 15 points with four rebounds and four assists.

    "It's just getting that gameday adrenaline under control," Williams said. "Just getting game reps and shots, figuring out the pace of the game-and-flow and knowing my teammates are looking for me.

    "Breezy (Brionna Jones) is setting those crazy monster screens for me. It's just a matter of knocking the shots down."

    Connecticut's bench was productive once again with guards Natisha Hiedeman and Yvonne Anderson both playing well in Jasmine Thomas' absence.

    Hiedeman made three 3-pointers and scored nine with five assists.

    Anderson played over 18 minutes, scored nine and played well defensively. The 32-year-old signed a training camp contract with the Sun during the offseason and earned herself a job.

    "(She received) the loudest applause in our locker room after the game," Miller said.

    Indiana (2-6) shot just 34.9-percent. It shot 54-percent in Friday's 94-85 loss at Connecticut.

    Emily Engstler, the fourth pick in April's draft, had 11 points and seven rebounds for the Fever and Victoria Vivians scored 15.

    Connecticut did a terrific job defensively against Indiana guard Kelsey Mitchell. It threw multiple defenders at her and she finished with five points on 2 of 12 shooting.

    Mitchell made 9 of 13 shots for a game-high 23 points on Friday.

    "Kelsey Mitchell is a tough player," Williams said. "We (had) to show her bodies, bodies, bodies (defensively)."

    Miller said, "To hold Kelsey Mitchell to five points, that's insane."

    n.griffen@theday.com

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